Local charity Safe and Sound has unveiled innovative plans to expand its work that supports and protects children and young people from the devastating damage that sexual exploitation has on their lives.
Safe and Sound, established since 2002, is the only local charity focused on transforming the lives of children and young people who are victims of or at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation, commonly referred to as CSE.
Having already worked on an individual basis with hundreds of children and young people across Derbyshire, Safe and Sound now want to provide additional support programmes for young people, their families and wider local communities.
To bring these plans to fruition, the charity has launched the Butterfly Appeal #BuildingStrongerWings which will be a year-long programme of activity to raise funds and increase awareness of CSE.
At the Butterfly Appeal launch event, Safe and Sound chair Catherine Arkley outlined how the charity was building on its grassroots, victim-focused approach to transform the lives of young people in Derbyshire.
The charity’s future vision is extensive and includes:
- A new outreach programme to provide hands-on support where young people are at their most vulnerable
- Wider support for the families of victims and those at risk of CSE
- Youth work programmes with new activities from music to sport to build young people’s confidence and resilience
- Specialist psychological therapy programmes to tackle trauma, anxiety and depression
- Longer-term support for survivors moving into adulthood enabling them to mentor younger victims
- An expanded community education programme to increase public awareness of CSE and the dangers facing young people
Mrs Arkley said:
“Sexual exploitation is a hidden, heinous crime. Young people often don’t understand that they are being exploited or are too scared and possibly ashamed to tell anyone what is happening.
“Our vision of is to support young people to move not just to a place of safety, but emerge, like a butterfly, unshackled and undefined by their experiences and enabled to reach their full potential.”
Safe and Sound Chief Executive Tracy Harrison continued that, in the UK today, one in 20 children suffer sexual abuse which includes child sexual exploitation. That means that in every classroom in Derbyshire, there is at least one vulnerable young person in need of help.
“The timing of this launch reflects the growing need for our services as young people are more vulnerable than ever to sexual exploitation, through to wider exploitation with county lines and cyberbullying as just two examples.
“Our young people need more protection than ever and Safe and Sound is the only organisation working on the ground here in Derbyshire, providing practical help and support.
“We are largely reliant on raising the financial support from the generosity of the Derbyshire community and that is why we are launching the Butterfly Appeal. The theme has been inspired by the young people we help.
“We are inspired by their bravery, finding the strength to come out of a dark place and make changes in their lives that transform their futures.”
The work of Safe and Sound was commended by Derbyshire’s Chief Constable Peter Goodman who said:
“Safe and Sound are the organisation that has changed the lives of many young people who have been sexually exploited, raped and trafficked by perpetrators and helped countless others who have been at risk of such criminal behaviour.
“I first became aware of their work when I came to Derbyshire in 2007 and they came to me with their evidence and intelligence about CSE that was happening across Derby.
“That is why I am supporting them throughout my tenure as Chief Constable and I would appeal others to get behind the Butterfly Appeal that will provide vital support to victims, their families and wider communities across the county.”
A powerful video outlining young people’s experiences and why local people and businesses should support Safe and Sound was unveiled.
Guests were invited to share a message of hope for young people on the Butterfly tree and left the event with mugs and information on future fundraising events which were circulated by Derbyshire Police Cadets.
Safe and Sound trustee Adam Buss concluded:
“The event shared the grim reality of how CSE affects far too many local children and young people, their families and the wider community.
“However, I know that everyone left uplifted by the inspirational work that Safe and Sound is planning and ideas for how we can all help this vision to become a reality by supporting the Butterfly Appeal.”
For more information about Safe and Support can help and how to support the charity’s work in Derbyshire, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/ and follow on Facebook and Twitter @safesoundgroup